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The Pest Detectives: The Definitive Guide to Rentokil by Rob Gray

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Chapter Two: The Early Years of Rentokil

The nascent Rentokil could very easily have died with Harold Maxwell-Lefroy but the formidable Bessie Eades had other ideas. She took control of the trading company she had formed with the late professor and bought the rights to the timber fluid from his widow Kathleen – it is said she paid £90 (around £5,000 in today’s money). The first world war had triggered far-reaching change in British society and brought about new opportunities for women in the workplace, but commerce was still an overwhelmingly masculine preserve. It’s worth remembering that the act giving women the same voting rights as men only came into law in July 1928, by which point the trailblazing Eades had been calling the shots as a ...

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